The Genesis Invitational 2024 First Round Leader Tips: Morikawa to go low on Thursday

 | February 14 | 

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Genesis Invitational First Round Leader Tips

  • 1.5 pts Collin Morikawa each way (1/4, 5 places) First-Round Leader - 25/1
  • 1.25 pts Cameron Young each way (1/4, 5 places) First-Round Leader - 33/1
  • 0.75 pts Patrick Rodgers each way (1/4, 5 places) First-Round Leader - 60/1

Tee-times are set for the Genesis Invitational and I’ve picked out three selections who I’m hoping will make a fast start to what should be a fun week at Riviera.

There will be no clear morning/afternoon wave this week, with the 70-man field teeing off in groups of (mostly) three from the first tee. They start at 07:20 and the following groups then tee off at 11-minute intervals until the final 12:06 tee-time.

The weather shows no huge bias. It’s cool and less breezy in the morning and whilst the winds are expected to increase for those later starters, it’s nothing too severe and should be offset by the slightly warmer temperatures.

Having said that, there has been a noticeable trend of later starters holding sway in round one in recent years, with seven of the last ten first-round leaders going off in the second wave. Therefore, I will split my FRL selections 2:1 in favour of those beginning their week a little later on Thursday.

1.5 pts Collin Morikawa each way (1/4, 5 places) First-Round Leader - 25/1

Start time: 11:42

I’m going to commence with Collin Morikawa, who continues to be one of the best first-round scorers on tour. With his excellent record at Riviera, he can take advantage of teeing off in the third-last group and top the leaderboard at the end of Thursday’s opening round.

Morikawa has started the season well, finishing 5th in The Sentry and then bouncing back from a missed cut in the Farmers Insurance Open to finish 14th at Pebble Beach. However, it is the noticeably speedy starts that he’s been making that caught the eye.

On that last start at Pebble Beach, he shot the third-best score in round one at the main host course. Which followed on from him sitting inside the top 10 after the opening round at Torrey Pines and he was 2nd at the end of the first round in The Sentry.

This is a continuation of what he was doing at the end of 2023, as he led after round one in his two final official starts of the year - at the Tour Championship and ZOZO Championship - and sat in the top 10 in three of his four starts prior to those.

Morikawa has transferred this quick-starting ability to Riviera, firing a 67 to sit 6th after round one in 2022 – eventually finishing 2nd - and a 66 had him end the opening day in 4th last year. Indeed, he has shot seven of his last eight rounds in the 60s here, including a closing 65 in 2022.

Morikawa FRL

1.25 pts Cameron Young each way (1/4, 5 places) First-Round Leader - 33/1

Start time: 08:44

Cameron Young was joint runner-up with Morikawa here in 2022 and as another player who is making a habit of starting well, he looked the standout first-round contender from the earlier tee-times.

Young underwhelmed throughout much of the second half of 2023 but has started this year with promise. He had every chance in the Dubai Desert Classic, leading after each of the first three rounds before finally succumbing to Rory in round four. Last week he again looked good through three rounds in Phoenix, before eventually finishing 8th.

Over those starts, Young held a share of the FRL in Dubai and sat 8th in Phoenix. Despite the final results ultimately proving disappointing, he was doing a similar thing at the end of last year, recording first-round finishes of 3rd, 3rd, 6th and 15th in four of his final seven starts.

He has also started pretty well here in his only two visits. A 66 saw him sit 2nd after round one in 2022 and a 68 was enough for a first-round position of 14th last year; his ability to go low at Riviera is further highlighted by his incredible second-round 62 in 2022.

Cameron Young

0.75 pts Patrick Rodgers each way (1/4, 5 places) First-Round Leader - 60/1

Start time: 11:06

I’m going to finish with Patrick Rodgers. The former amateur star has an appealing record at Riviera and if able to rediscover the standard of ball-striking that he’d shown over his opening three starts this year, he looks a lively outsider to reach the upper-echelons of the leaderboard on Thursday.

Rodgers started the season with a 14th-place finish at The Sentry, a finish of 24th in the Sony Open and then 9th in the Farmers Insurance Open; producing encouraging golf tee-to-green across those starts.

That promise came to a shuddering end when finishing 79th of 80 players at Pebble Beach. However, he is forgiven that on account of the chaotic weather-impacted nature of the tournament, and by the fact that barring his 8th-place finish in that event in 2018, he has otherwise not performed well.

In contrast, Rodgers has several positive showings at Riviera, with five top-30 finishes in eight visits, including a best of 12th in 2021. He has often started well, sitting 3rd after round one in 2019, 19th in 2017, 21st in 2018 and 22nd in 2022. Starting off this week in the sixth-last group, he looks well-positioned to do so again.

Patrick Rodgers FRL

You can find all Jamie's latest Golf Betting Tips over on our dedicated golf Insights hub. 

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